“Vadragate” has an intriguing political aspect. The BJP, as the main Opposition party, naturally wants to target UPA’s Twin Towers— Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In Singh’s case, it has succeeded to a large extent in dismantling his claim to good governance. An intense focus on scams under his watch has ensured that. And after Coalgate, no one may again loosely use the old sobriquet, “Mr Clean”, though no one has alleged personal gain either. In the Gandhi Family’s case, however, the BJP held its fire on one issue. It had restricted itself purely to political criticism—speaking against dynasty and about 10 Janpath being the real centre of power, for instance, and studiously refrained from going in for personal attacks.
Until Narendra Modi broke that barrier last week. But even in the wake of his questioning of the expenses incurred on Sonia’s foreign trips—which included a visit to the US for health reasons —party spokespersons were distinctly uncomfortable. They were eager to dispel the notion of any personal animus. “We wish her well,” they said, while insisting that the questions Modi asked were valid ones. It is common knowledge in Delhi circles that an “expose” on Robert Vadra has been in the works for a while.